The U.S. Open is the national golf tournament of the USA. As the name suggests, this really is an open, with a number of spots available to qualifiers from across America and internationally. As one of men’s golf’s four major championships, this is an enormously prestigious prize to win for any golfer but especially for Americans who relish the chance to prove themselves on a selection of the most difficult golf courses the country has to offer. Founded in 1895, this is the second oldest major in golf and also typically the one with the biggest purse, meaning players are equally rewarded in terms of prestige and finances.
The USGA, who host the U.S. Open, try to make this an all-round test of golf and, subject to the host course, often like to defend par by setting up courses to play fast, firm and incredibly difficult. A score of level par or worse has been enough to win this championship a number of times, with five over the winning score in both 2006 and 2007! With a strong field doing battle over iconic courses, the U.S. Open is must watch golf and proves that a plethora of birdies and eagles are not a prerequisite of excitement and drama.
Betting Tips for 17th to 20th June 2021
Tiger Woods’ win in the 2008 US Open is one of the most storied performances in major championship golf history. Woods is not around for another chance to win this historic tournament but the host venue of 13 years ago, Torrey Pines, is back in the big time.
As the long time host of the Farmers Insurance Open, the South Course at Torrey Pines is no stranger to the majority of the field assembled for the 121st US Open. However, this will be Torrey Pines turned up to 11. Social media has been full of posts from players showing just how deep the rough in this part of San Diego is but if that doesn’t get players then the bunkers or the firm greens will.
Previous good form at Torrey Pines is not going to hurt anybody’s chances at this year’s US Open but it is more important that players have the technique and mentality to cope with a difficult test of golf. Indeed, previous US Open form may be more important as the USGA apply many of the same tricks of the trade at the different courses that the tournament visits.
It is Xander Schauffele’s US Open form that makes him such a tempting bet at odds of 18/1. He has never finished outside of the top six in this tournament and has done very well in other challenging tournaments. Schauffele finally looked to get the hang of Torrey Pines after a number of missed cuts when finishing second at this year’s Farmers Insurance Open and he can go one better for a maiden major championship.
Patrick Reed is another player who tends to do well when golf courses are set up to be challenging. The former Masters champion has struggled for consistency this season but when he is good he tends to be in the mix as he was at the Memorial when last seen. Reed also has one of the best short games in the world which is sure to help him get up and down for par more than most this week so 30/1 looks a very good price.
Finally, consider two experienced pros with ample US Open experience – Louis Oosthuizen and Justin Rose. Oosthuizen added yet another second-place finish at a major to his CV at the recent PGA Championship and is playing well enough to return for an each way bet at odds of 50/1. Rose is a former US Open champion who is developing a habit of saving his best for the biggest tournaments and can outperform his odds of 60/1.
|2021||Torrey Pines||Jon Rahm|
|2020||Winged Foot Golf Club||Bryson DeChambeau|
|2019||Pebble Beach Golf Links||Gary Woodland|
|2018||Shinnecock Hills Golf Club||Brooks Koepka|
|2017||Erin Hills||Brooks Koepka|
2021: Jon Rahm
Jon Rahm is only 26 and yet his maiden major championship win has been a long time coming. That speaks to how good he was as an amateur and how quickly he rose to the challenge of professional golf. Coming into the 2021 US Open, Rahm was a multiple winner on the PGA Tour and European Tour as well as a Ryder Cup star for Europe. The first of those wins came in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines so it was fitting that his first major win came at the same venue.
Despite coming in for some criticism for a lack of variety, the South Course at Torrey Pines came up with the goods in terms of producing a dramatic conclusion to a US Open. Rory McIlroy, Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau were all bang in contention at one stage or another on Sunday but they, and others, saw their challenge fade on the demanding back nine at Torrey. Rahm, by contrast, came alive when it mattered most, making back to back birdies to close out his round and get to -6 which was one more than Louis Oosthuizen could manage on his way to yet another second place at a major. This was the sixth time the South African came up just short in a bid to add to his sole major, the 2010 Open.
There was a lot of talk afterwards about this result being karma for the incredible bad luck that befell Rahm at the Memorial. That fit a compelling story arc but don’t think it ends here. With this win, Rahm became the number one ranked golfer in the world and there is no reason for that, or for his run of winning majors, to end anytime soon. He is very much the man to beat right now and he could well follow in the footsteps of his countrymen in being a Ryder Cup talisman come September.
2020: Bryson DeChambeau
Bryson DeChambeau has always done things his own way. He has no problem going against the grain if he believes there is an edge to be gained and there was much scoffing and eye rolling at his plan to overpower and outmuscle the West Course at Winged Foot ahead of the 2020 U.S. Open. With the penal rough and tricky layout, power was not the answer according to received wisdom. Nobody was laughing come Sunday evening though when DeChambeau strolled up the final fairway with a six shot lead.
DeChambeau has documented his process of putting on muscle to increase his ball speed to levels never previously seen on the PGA Tour. Some purists claim that this is a one-dimensional style of golf which lacks guile and skill. Try swinging a driver with 5.5 degrees of loft as fast as DeChambeau and see how much skill it requires just to get the ball airborne. He also displayed plenty of touch around the greens when required and putted well, so he really was the full package in New York.
Matthew Wolff, who began the final round on -5, two shots ahead of DeChambeau, had a Sunday to forget but was the only player other than DeChambeau not to finish over par for the tournament. It is sometimes said that DeChambeau is playing a different game to his rivals with his power, single length irons and unique approach. It certainly looked that way at Winged Foot.
2019: Gary Woodland
Any U.S. Open win is special but in the same way that an Open win means that little bit more at St Andrews, there is something extra special about lifting the U.S. Open trophy at Pebble Beach. That’s what Gary Woodland was able to do at the iconic venue where he was the only player to finish ahead of Brooks Koepka, who came so close to an historic third straight U.S. Open victory.
Woodland may have never won a major championship before but he is an experienced golfer and was able to lean into that experience at Pebble Beach. Where several before him have crumbled under the pressure of trying to get over the line in one of golf’s biggest events, Woodland seemed to get stronger with every challenge.
His game wasn’t perfect – nobody’s can be at Pebble Beach – but he quickly realised that the course was set up well to suit. Woodland was able to utilise his power both off the tee and on the occasions he found himself in the rough, muscling through the thick grass better than almost anybody else. He was also more comfortable on the Poa Annua greens than his competitors as he showed when holing a monster putt on his final hole when three putts would have sufficed. A very stylish way to land your first major.
2018: Brooks Koepka
Brooks Koepka cut his teeth in professional golf on the Challenge Tour in Europe. Leaving home and playing on such a vast array of golf courses made him a better all-round golfer than if he had stayed in America and yet it is the U.S. Open where he rules. Koepka became just the third player to successfully defend his U.S. Open title, joining Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange after grinding it out at Shinnecock Hills to win with a score of +1.
The USGA get a lot of criticism for their hosting of the U.S. Open but they emerged with real credit both for the choice of Shinnecock Hills and the way they set the course up. Their goal is always to defend par where possible so they’ll have been very happy with Koepka’s winning score. Not everybody in the field was happy with the positioning of some of the pins or the speed of the greens given the difficult conditions throughout but it produced a very watchable golf tournament which felt like a proper U.S. Open.
The final round saw Koepka start as part of a four-way tie for the lead alongside Tony Finau, Dustin Johnson and Daniel Berger, with each player on +3. None of those three were able to match Koepka’s -2 final round and in the end it was Tommy Fleetwood who came closest to stopping his title defence. Unfortunately for the Southport man, after making four straight birdies between 12 and 15 he just couldn’t find the one extra shot he needed to force a playoff.
2017: Brooks Koepka
There was a time that golf fans and administrators used to worry about the future of the sport when Tiger Woods leaves the stage. Many felt that his dominance and impact on sponsors and fans was so great that surely the game would suffer when he stopped winning. What nobody realised at the time was that Woods would actually solve the problem himself by inspiring a whole generation of kids to take up golf and thus help to produce a greater strength in depth than the sport has seen before. The 2017 U.S. Open was the sixth major in a row in which Woods did not compete and yet each of them was won by a first time major champion.
Brooks Koepka held his nerve to become the latest first time winner of a big one at Erin Hills. His winning margin of four strokes does not tell the full story though. Koepka began the final round one off the lead held by Brian Harman and even when he took the lead he was being chased by a large pack. It was only a run of three straight birdies from 14 through to 16 that finally broke the resistance of those in pursuit.
This was a great day for American golf as nine of the top 11 players were playing on home soil. Hideki Matsuyama, who tied Harman for second place, and Tommy Fleetwood flew the flag for the international challengers but this was very much a big W for the home team.